Our guide to the 10 best things to do in Falmouth
The historic harbour town of Falmouth offers the best of both worlds: combining a rich maritime heritage and flourishing arts scene, with beautiful sandy beaches and excellent dining options, making it suited to almost any type of holiday. If you’re looking for some ideas on things to do and visit during your time in Falmouth then read on, as we bring you our top 10 favourite attractions in this charming town.
These beautiful sub-tropical gardens are ranked as the top thing to do in Falmouth on TripAdvisor. They’re unique, and make for a fantastic day out for all ages. With more than 25 acres of magical ravine garden and a private, secluded beach on Helford River to explore, Trebah Garden is a delight not to be missed. The gardens are spectacular all year round, with each season offering a new and enchanting array of floral displays. There are magnificent glades of tree ferns, adventure play areas and trails for children to enjoy, exotic gardens for adults to admire, and dogs are welcome in the garden and on the beach all year round.
Opening times: All year round, from 10am until 5.30pm. Last entry is at 4.30pm.
Prices: From November to February, prices start from £4.50 for an adult and from £1.50 for a child. From March to October, prices start from £9.00 for an adult and from £3.00 for a child. Children under five go free.
Address: Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5JZ
Contact: 01326 252200; www.trebahgarden.co.uk
Like the look of this beautiful garden? Then you should check out our other favourite gardens in Cornwall.
Pendennis Castle is a superb coastal fortress built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1545, and designed to protect the country against invasion. Steeped in history, this castle has seen plenty of conflict, from the Civil War right through to its last military operation as a secret observation post in the World War II. Today, you’ll find a discovery centre where you can learn more about the roles Pendennis Castle played in various conflicts; the brand new First World War exhibition, full of letters and artefacts from the time; and a Victorian War Shelter, where you’ll experience what life was like for the gunners living there. Don’t miss the noon day gun which is fired every day from April to October.
Opening times: Varies throughout the year. In peak season, the castle is open from 10am until 6pm. To check specific dates, please visit the English Heritage website.
Prices: English Heritage members go free. For non-members, prices start from £7.50 for adults and £4.50 for children.
Address: Castle Close, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4LP
Contact: 01326 316594; www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pendennis-castle
There are plenty of other castles you can visit during your stay in Cornwall. Read about them here.
Falmouth Art Gallery
This free art gallery is one of the leading galleries in the South West, with an outstanding collection of art and changing exhibitions. The gallery features work that ranges from pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist paintings, to contemporary prints and photography. There’s always something new for visitors to enjoy, and for families, there are plenty of free workshops, events and activities to get involved in. There’s also a charming shop on-site selling items including jewellery, ceramics and children’s arts and crafts sets.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday, 10am until 5pm
Prices: No entrance fee although some of the changing exhibitions may charge
Address: Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 2RT
Contact: 01326 313863; www.falmouthartgallery.com
Fancy yourself as a bit of an artist? Then we have some beautiful scenery that you can paint in our guide to 10 must see views in Cornwall.
Flicka Foundation Horse and Donkey Sanctuary
One for the animal lovers among us, the Flicka Foundation Horse and Donkey Sanctuary is a wonderful day out for adults and children alike. A registered charity, the sanctuary takes care of over 70 horses and donkeys that have been abandoned or mistreated, and helps them to live out the rest of their days in safety and comfort. Animal lovers can visit the sanctuary to learn more about the animals that live there and the wonderful work that the charity does day-to-day; you can take a walk around, meet the animals, admire the lovely views and visit the on-site coffee shop for refreshment.
Opening times: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. From 11am until 4pm.
Prices: No entrance fee but donations to the sanctuary are appreciated
Address: Penty Noweth Farm, Trenoweth Lane, Mabe Burnthouse, Penryn, Cornwa ll, TR10 9JB
Contact: 01326 373601; www.flickafoundation.org.uk
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
This multi-award winning museum is set in Falmouth’s picturesque harbour. With 15 galleries spaced out over five floors, there’s plenty to do here - especially on a rainy day. The museum is dedicated to the maritime history and heritage of Cornwall, and offers a wide range of talks, interactive exhibitions, activities and events for you to get involved in. The highly aaclaimed Viking Voyagers exhibition is definitely worth a visit, where you can experience Viking life first-hand and climb on board a real-scale Viking ship. Other things to do include climbing the 100 foot look-out tower for a panoramic view of Falmouth’s harbour, and visiting the tidal zone to see one of the only natural underwater galleries in the world.
Opening times: Every day from 10am until 5pm
Prices: Prices for adults start from £12.00 and prices for children start from £8.50. All full-priced tickets includes free entry for the year. Children under five go free.
Address: Discovery Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3QY
Contact: 01326 313388; www.nmmc.co.uk
ElementalUK has two adventure activity centres in Cornwall, but if you’re in Falmouth then Swanpool Beach is the one for you. They invite you to get the most from the coast and this sheltered beach cove is the perfect place to try your hand at numerous watersports, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing and coasteering. Catering for both adults and children, you can hire equipment and head out on your own, or you can book in for lessons under their expert tuition. There’s also a popular kids' club at weekends and throughout the school holidays, which you can book onto for as little as half a day - ideal if you’re on holiday in the area.
Opening times: seven days a week, 9am until 5pm
Prices: Varies depending on the activity, with prices starting from £10.00 per person for equipment hire and £12.00 per person for tuition
Address: Swanpool Beach, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5BG
Contact: 01326 318771; www.elementaluk.com
There are several stunning beaches in Falmouth if you’re looking to spend a little time on the sand.
- Castle Beach
The most northerly of Falmouth’s beaches, close to Pendennis Castle, Castle Beach boasts beautiful views across Falmouth Bay and is perfect for rock-pooling. There are parking facilities and toilets; dogs are welcome on the beach between 1st October and Easter Saturday.
- Gyllyngvase Beach
Awarded Blue Flag status for 2015, Gyllyngvase is Falmouth’s most popular beach. It’s a ten minute walk from the main town and this beautiful, sandy beach offers plenty of space and a great beach café. There are both parking and toilet facilities, and a lifeguard is on duty during the peak months. Dogs are welcome on the beach between 1st October and Easter Saturday.
- Maenporth Beach
If you’re looking for a quieter beach, Maenporth can be found two miles outside of the centre of Falmouth. It’s sheltered and sloped so the water is shallow, and it’s ideal for sunbathing. There are parking and toilet facilities, and dogs are welcome outside of peak summer season that begins on Easter Sunday and ends in October.
- Swanpool Beach
This sandy cove on the outskirts of Falmouth is ideal for families with safe swimming, an excellent watersports centre (ElementalUK) and a bouncy castle for kids in the summer months. There’s parking, toilets and as with the other beaches listed, dogs are welcome between 1st October and Easter Saturday.
AK Wildlife Cruises
AK Wildlife Cruises offers year-round wildlife tours from Falmouth, sailing all the way along the Cornish coast. Skipper, Captain Keith, has vast experience of private boat chartering, as well as being a professional wildlife guide who’s worked with the likes of ‘The Really Wild Show’. Highly rated on TripAdvisor, his motto is “if it’s out there, I will find it for you”. These fascinating tours of the Atlantic waters along Cornwall’s spectacular shoreline offer the opportunity to see wildlife including dolphins, whales, seals, basking sharks and sea birds.
Opening times: All year round. Trips last for either four or seven hours.
Prices: From £50.00 for adults and from £38.00 for children
Address: Premier Marina, North Parade, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 2TD
Contact: 01326 753389; www.akwildlifecruises.co.uk
Falmouth Lifeboat Station
One of the UK’s ‘Explore Stations’, Falmouth Lifeboat Station is open to visitors most of the year, subject to operational requirements. Described on TripAdvisor as “a hidden gem”, visiting the Lifeboat Station is a great way to spend an afternoon in Falmouth. A fantastic team of volunteers are on hand to show you around the station, take you on a guided tour of the lifeboats, and provide information about the valuable work the team undertakes to save lives at sea.
Opening times: The station is open to visitors from April to October: Monday-Friday 11am until 4pm, and Saturday 11am until 1pm.
Prices: Guided tours are free. Donations to RNLI are welcome
Address: Tinners Walk, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3XZ
Contact: 01326 318375; www.falmouthlifeboat.co.uk
Glendurgan Garden is among Cornwall’s most beautiful gardens, offering a sub-tropical paradise along the banks of the Helford River. Created with families in mind, Glendurgan Garden is best known for its cherry laurel maze located within the gardens for more than 180 years. The maze is a firm favourite with children, and is the perfect activity for a sunny afternoon with the family. Another family favourite to look out for is the much-loved swing, the Giant’s Stride. Take a picnic in the summer to enjoy lunch among the natural beauty of the wild flowers.
Opening times: Varies throughout the year. In peak season, the garden is open from 10.30am until 5.30pm. To check specific dates, please visit the National Trust website.
Prices: National Trust members go free. For non-members, prices for adults start from £7.20 and prices for children start from £3.60.
Address: Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5JZ
Contact: 01326 252020; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/glendurgan-garden
If you’re planning a holiday to Cornwall, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of our Discover Cornwall website, where you can find more ideas on the best places to eat and visit across Cornwall.